Adventures in Marketing — Week 392

Sold a “Cheesesteak.”
A father and son came into the café wearing STOKE ALOHA t-shirts. They were on the mainland checking out colleges. “Rex” is from Hawaii too, so I invited them to join us. Richard Sr. was from Long Island and had gone to a summer camp in the Poconos, where he had been “the only uncircumcised camper,” but Richard, Jr. was island-born. They and Rex had a nice chat about high school rivalries, and Richard, Sr. and I had a nice chat about how we ended up where we did.
Which led me to push “Cheesesteak” on him since that had my answer in full

And I gave away a café journal.
It went to a fellow I had met at a summer camp in the Poconos (where everyone was circumcised). Then I had been the waiter for his bunk’s table. When he arrived here, he had a pigtail to his asshole and sold soft pretzels from a cart near Sproul Plaza. Later he became one of the Bay Area’s hippie plutocrats, selling guitars to rock stores and establishing extensive holdings in collectible comic books, rare wood, and classic automobile parts. He owns property in Sonoma, Berkeley and Santa Cruz.
Yeah, I shoulda charged him.

In other news:
1.) Both books are seeing lights at ends of tunnels. “Bob on Bob” is only four-days past when its final tweaks were promised. And the highly sought after Rebecca B. has signed on to lend a hand with the proofreading of “Messiahs, Meshugganahs…” as her schedule permits, so that should shorten the end date there.
2.) Was phone-interviewed by a fellow who is writing a book about a cartoonist I profiled 30-years ago. And phone-interviewed by a guy who’s writing a book about a fellow I interviewed when I wrote about the Air Pirates. It’s making me feel a bit like a natural resource, one of the last surviving members of some tribe or other. I half-expect Alan Lomax to show up and tape me singing the blues.
3.) Finally, as the sole proprietor of Spruce Hill Press, I have resolutely been conducting myself as an (idiosyncratic) small businessman as part of the performance art I see myself engaged in. I have a registered Fictitious Business Name. I pay my sales tax.
This year I submitted my check ($77) when due. For the next couple months, I received notices that my tax remained unpaid. Each time I called, I was told not to worry. It would be straightened out soon. Forms were handled in one department and payments in another and things needed to be reconciled. Or something like that. Finally, my bank statement showed my check had been cashed, and I figured I was in the clear.
Last week, I received a new notice. I owed a tax of $95.74, interest of $0.32, and a penalty of $9.57. (It was unclear if the $95.74 was in addition to the $77 I had already paid.) I called the Customer Service Center and was told my $77 payment was not reflected. I said I would be happy to send the money claimed but filling out the form was a pain in the ass. Maybe I would write a check and return it along with the state’s letter. The rep said they “are working on it in the accounts analysis unit. Give it two more business days.” I suggested, since with what I had already paid subtracted, we were talking about a penalty and interest on $18.74, that the state’s customer service persons and account analysts might be more profitably employed.
The second business day is now.